NASA rolls out fun challenges and materials for the new school year

We're only a couple of weeks away from students returning to school in the US, and here to make it a little more fun and educational is NASA with its freely provided materials. The space agency often shares fun projects and educational content with the public, including everything from simulation games to space 'passports' and more.

NASA has detailed its free materials for both students and educators to use during the 2021 – 2022 school year, as well as a couple of student challenges open to kids in grade school and teens in high school. There is, for example, the NASA TechRise Student Challenge for grades 6-12 that tasks teams of students with designing and building experiments to launch on suborbital flights.

Joining that is the Mission to Mars Student Challenge, which is intended for teachers to help lead students through the design, build, and launch processes involved with landing a Mars mission. The space agency has a Space Voyagers Card Game to help students learn to design a spacecraft, as well as Mars 2020 STEM Toolkit freely available.

NASA is also encouraging the public to get interested in its missions by requesting artwork of its Landsat spacecraft. The artwork can simply be inspired by the craft and shared with NASA's Earth team through its social media accounts.

Other free materials include the LCRD STEM Launch Kit to help teach students about laser-based communications, plus there are fun things like the Crew Orbital Docking Simulation. What about students who are still participating in virtual classes? NASA has virtual tours of its various astronaut training facilities, and more.

Other free educational materials, including downloadable posters, calendars, and storybooks, can be found on NASA's educational website here.